Creating a Declaration for Independence

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A Special Note to Parents of Children in All Nations
by Bob Doman

Here in the United States we celebrate the 4th of July 1776 as our Independence Day. When that independence was actually achieved is a subject of debate between historians. On July 4, 1776 we adopted a resolution declaring our independence from Great Britain and the king—a resolution that Great Britain scoffed at and rejected, rather like a parent of a delinquent child. The resulting Revolutionary War, a hard fought war between a ragtag army made up mostly of farmers and tradesman against the strongest military in the world, was not over and victory declared until 1783. Our first president, George Washington, was not elected until 1789, a full thirteen years after we had announced our intent to be an independent nation.

The concept of a Declaration of Independence is something we should examine as parents. Consider your children and give thought to committing not to a Declaration of Independence, but perhaps a Declaration for Independence, their independence. I suggest that we parents look at our children and create a goal that we will proactively work to achieve—that they will become independent, functioning, autonomous, happy, and contributing adults. Our jobs are not to create very large, dysfunctional old children, but functional adults. As such, perhaps as we here in the United States celebrate the day of our Declaration of Independence for our nation, we should look at our children and make a declaration for their independence and prepare to fight our own battles on their behalf, understanding that it could take many years for us to help them achieve their independence.

We need to make the commitment, maintain our focus, and achieve our goal. It’s the battles, the scars, and the sacrifices that help define us as parents. But the rewards are worth it all!

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 29 No. 1, 2016 ©NACD